Look who the Feds are picking on now...
By Nicole Colson | October 1, 2004 | Page 2
IS THE man who wrote the song Peace Train a dangerous militant with ties to terrorists? That's what the Bush administration's witch-hunters would like us to believe.
Last week, Yusef Islam, the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens, was on a flight with his daughter from London to Washington, D.C., when authorities diverted the plane in mid-flight to Bangor, Maine. According to the Transportation Security Administration, Islam (who became a Muslim in the 1970s) was on the government's "no-fly" list for those suspected of ties to terrorists.
Once in the U.S., Islam was separated from his daughter and interrogated. Then he was deported to London and barred from re-entering the U.S.
Islam says he was stunned. "The amazing thing is that I was not given (and have still not been given) any explanation whatsoever as to what it is I am accused of, or why I am now deemed an apparent security threat--let alone given an opportunity to respond to these allegations," he said in a statement. "I was simply told that the order had come from 'on high'...
"I am a man of peace and denounce all forms of terrorism and injustice; it is simply outrageous for the U.S. authorities to suggest otherwise. I have dedicated my life to promoting peace and understanding throughout the world." Exactly why the government threw Islam out of the country remains a mystery--especially considering that he visited the U.S. as recently as May without any problems.
Some government officials hinted that Islam supports charities that aid Palestinians living under Israeli occupation--and that some of the money might have gone to "terrorists." Others speculated that the singer's criticism of Bush's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq might have got him booted.
But in the end, it may be another embarrassing mistake for the Feds. According to Time magazine, there is no "Yusuf Islam" on the no-fly registry (which includes more than 19,000 names)--but there is a "Youssouf Islam."
It wouldn't be the first mistake. In recent months, Sen. Ted Kennedy has had problems flying because his name was reportedly on the list.